Data Viewpoint

Health consumers behave very different than retail customers

December 9, 2021

  • 60% of Health consumers (health plan members, patients, beneficiaries, employees) prefer to interact with their health insurers using analog channels like phone and email over digital channels like mobile apps or voice assistants.
  • This behavior is significantly different to consumer interaction patterns across other retail-oriented industries like banks, airlines, auto insurance and retailers.
  • Consumers of financials (banks and credit cards) and retailers overwhelmingly use company website (~60%) or mobile apps (~30%) over analog channels (less than 20%).
  • Auto insurers who come closest to health insurers in terms of business model also attract over 40% of consumer interactions on their company site followed by a healthy 17% interactions through mobile apps. While ~20% of consumers still use the phone and email to interact with their auto insurers, that is still only a third of consumers compared to health insurer consumer interactions
  • Social networking and voice assistants across industries are still at an anemic sub 10% of all consumer interactions, with retailers attracting the most at ~10% while health insurers come in last with approximately 1% of the interactions.
The Bottom Line: Consumer interaction patterns suggest that health consumers need individualized human intervention given healthcare is very personal and digital channels are unable to address meaningfully

Over time health consumers will expand adoption of digital channels but they will be very discerning in what channels are used for what purposes. Mobile apps and voice assistants could be potential reminder agents, but they will not replace a human engagement to address health question and healthcare concerns. Enterprises must not follow the myth of healthcare retailization. It is not happening!, however there are lessons from retail that can and must be smartly applied to develop and deliver engagement programs for health consumers leveraging digital channels.

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